AMSTERDAM -- Toyota will join the booming small SUV segment with a new model based on the same platform as the Yaris small car, the automaker said.
The as-yet unnamed SUV will be built alongside the Yaris at Toyota's plant in Valenciennes, northern France. Both models use Toyota's GA-B small car platform, a variation of its global TNGA modular architecture.
The car was announced at an event held on Wednesday in Amsterdam, Netherlands, where the company also gave details on its new plug-in hybrid version of the RAV4 SUV as well its new Kinto mobility brand.
The SUV will be revealed at Geneva auto show in March ahead of sales starting in spring 2021.
The model is expected to launch with the same three-cylinder hybrid set-up as the new Yaris small car, which goes on sale in June this year.
The Yaris will launch with the hybrid model only, which uses a lithium ion battery in place of the nickel metal hydride pack used in the outgoing model. Toyota claims a 20 percent improvement in CO2, which would bring the Yaris' emissions to about 67 grams per kilometer as measured on the NEDC correlated system.
The Yaris will also be offered with conventional 1-0- and 1.5-liter gasoline engines at a later date, dependent on market.
The two cars will account for about 30 percent of the Toyota sales volume in Europe by 2025, the company said.
The Valenciennes plant can flexibly react to swings in demand for either car, but the company expects sales of the SUV to be strong.
"We expect this to be a very successful car. Some cars you look at the styling and it just looks right. This is such a car," a Toyota source said.
Toyota has moved to three shifts at Valenciennes in preparation for introduction of the new SUV into the plant. It expects to produce at close to the plant's capacity of 300,000.
The company said the model would be sold exclusively in Europe initially and would consider other markets at a later date, without specifying which markets.
The European market for small SUVs was expected to exceed 2 million vehicles last year, based on segment data for the first half of 2019, which saw sales of 1.1 million according to figures from JATO Dynamics.
Toyota is one of the last automakers to enter the small SUV segment, which has grown to Europe's third largest overall and biggest SUV sector since it was first popularized by the 2010 Nissan Juke.